Why are Americans getting fatter? A food love story in six graphs. (P.S. It’s not the carbs or the sugar.)

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Reposted from Twitter, December 3, 2017.

For those wondering what the source of the fat calories were, I’ve created two more graphs telling that story. Answer: vast majority of added fat calories in the American diet 1970-2010 come from soybean oil.

Reposted from Twitter December 6, 2017.

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  1. Awesome charts! Thanks for (re?)posting them. The assemblage is great; together they tell a story bigger than the sum of the charts.

    This seems consistent with the hypothesis that PUFA from seed oils could be the single biggest driver of obesity today. (Then the question is whether it’s just the calories, or also the adipocyte insulin-sensitizing effects of PUFA as some people suggest.)

  2. I am not a scientist or medical person. I am a chef, meal creation coach, and fat old white man. I have type 2 diabetes and am 5’11” 247 lbs.(Was 380 at my blimpiest maybe 28 years ago and 318 at my more recent high. I look at these charts and they have some utility. But my opinion is that when we look at isolating food elements or types, we are not dealing with what people really do and eat. We eat meals and snacks, not isolated food elements. And we are not incorporating genetic and epigenetic factors that I believe impact how we process our meals and snacks. And then there is lifestyle–activity, cardio, stretching, relaxation, sleep… I am certain that some people process a high fat diet better than others and the same for carbs, processed carbs, high fiber, whatever. I am certain that the same is true for the health magic dejure: microbiome, isolated turmeric…

    It all becomes food and diet as religion with some of the strengths and all of the weaknesses of dogma and tribalism.

    I do put some stock in the recent trope that we are genetically engineered to crave fat, sugar, and salt. And with our current highly processed, mechanised industrial food system from production to processing to marketing in full swing to take advantage of this natural flow to gluttony, we are in generally screwed.

    So my point is that glomming onto any one factor, even one that make convincing charts are inconclusive because the variables are so complexly interrelated. We no longer dine on a cuisine that takes full advantage of regional availability to which we genetically, culturally, and individually adapt.

    I am also aware that as a T2D It is really tempting to take conclusions such as are reflected in these charts to believe that I can let my carb limitation go if I am losing weight. I am consistently losing, about 2 to 3 pounds per month. But my A1c varies consistently based sugar and processed carbs over time. I wear a Dexcom 6 blood continuous blood sugar monitor and my baselines, spikes, etc are related mostly to carbs.

    My personal current mantra comes for Michael Polen: Eat whole food, mostly vegetables, not too much. As to my religiosity around this, I take as a truism and useful guide, but I am always open to expansion and more information.

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